- Number 424 |
- October 13, 2014
A new concept in metallic alloy design – called “high‐entropy alloys” – has yielded a multiple-element material that not only tests out as one of the toughest on record, but, unlike most materials, the toughness as well as the strength and ductility of this alloy actually improves at cryogenic temperatures. This multi-element alloy was synthesized and tested through a collaboration of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratories (Berkeley Lab and ORNL).
“We examined CrMnFeCoNi, a high‐entropy alloy that contains five major elements rather than one dominant one,” says Robert Ritchie, a materials scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. “Our tests showed that despite containing multiple elements with different crystal structures, this alloy crystalizes as a single phase, face‐centered cubic solid with exceptional damage tolerance, tensile strength above one gigapascal, and fracture toughness values that are off the charts, exceeding that of virtually all other metallic alloys.”
For a battery to work, it needs an electrolyte to act as a bridge and carry ions from the anode to cathode and back again. However, batteries come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to battery electrolytes. For example, electric vehicles and “smart” phones are both powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries, but because the demand on the battery is so different, they require different electrolytes.
These nuances inspired Kevin Gering, a researcher at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory, to build the Advanced Electrolyte Model (AEM), a powerful tool used to analyze and identify potential electrolytes for battery systems.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a grant recently to develop an electrode array system that will enable researchers to better understand how the brain works through unprecedented resolution and scale.
LLNL’s grant-funded project is part of NIH’s efforts to support President Obama’s BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, a new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders.
A team led by DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has unlocked the enzymatic synthesis process of rare sugars, which are useful in developing drugs with low side effects using a process more friendly to the environment.
In a paper published in Structure, the research team reported the pioneering use of neutron and X-ray crystallography and high performance computing to study how the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, or XI, can cause a biochemical reaction in natural sugar to produce rare sugars. Unlike drugs made from natural sugar compounds, drugs made from rare sugars do not interfere with cellular processes. As a result, rare sugars have important commercial and biomedical applications as precursors for the synthesis of different antiviral and anti-cancer drugs with fewer side effects.